Classification Amendment (Publications, Films and Computer Games) - 28/08/2014

Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (13:01): I chaired the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee inquiry that looked at the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Amendment (Classification Tools and Other Measures) Bill in some detail, and I want to thank those who made submissions and those who appeared before us to give evidence. I also want to thank the committee secretariat for again doing a wonderful job in coordinating and bringing together the thoughts of the committee and its recommendations.

Generally there was consensus that the National Classification Scheme is in need of reform, and various stakeholders welcomed the bill. There were a number of issues raised which are set out in the report. I urge the Attorney-General and his department to carefully consider some of the issues raised. I do congratulate Senator Brandis for bringing this bill forward—as I say, there was a general belief that amendments and reform were necessary, and I am pleased that Senator Brandis has acted on that. I would refer Senator Brandis and his department to the recommendations of the committee. The first recommendation is that the bill be passed, which I know the Attorney will take note of, and the second recommendation states:

The committee recommends that the government ensures that the Bill's implementation and supporting material are clear and understood by stakeholders, in particular information regarding the approval and trial of classification tools, and the appeals process

People did ask us about those issues during the hearing. There was clearly a need for a little extra explanation or clarification, and I hope that the department in implementing this bill will take notice of that recommendation. This is not a party partisan bill—I think all parties to the hearing were happy to recommend the bill's passing but we do ask that the government take some account of the issues raised in the committee's report.

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